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A young soldier in Vietnam faces a moral crisis when confronted with the horrors of war and the duality of man.

Director:

Oliver Stone

Writer:

Oliver Stone
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1,019 ( 53)
Top Rated Movies #187 | Won 4 Oscars. Another 19 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Berenger ... Sgt. Barnes
Keith David ... King
Willem Dafoe ... Sgt. Elias
Forest Whitaker ... Big Harold
Francesco Quinn ... Rhah
Kevin Dillon ... Bunny
John C. McGinley ... Sgt. O'Neill
Reggie Johnson ... Junior
Mark Moses ... Lt. Wolfe
Corey Glover ... Francis
Johnny Depp ... Lerner
Chris Pedersen ... Crawford
Bob Orwig ... Gardner
Corkey Ford Corkey Ford ... Manny
David Neidorf ... Tex
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Storyline

Chris Taylor is a young, naive American who gives up college and volunteers for combat in Vietnam. Upon arrival, he quickly discovers that his presence is quite nonessential, and is considered insignificant to the other soldiers, as he has not fought for as long as the rest of them and felt the effects of combat. Chris has two non-commissioned officers, the ill-tempered and indestructible Staff Sergeant Robert Barnes and the more pleasant and cooperative Sergeant Elias Grodin. A line is drawn between the two NCOs and a number of men in the platoon when an illegal killing occurs during a village raid. As the war continues, Chris himself draws towards psychological meltdown. And as he struggles for survival, he soon realizes he is fighting two battles, the conflict with the enemy and the conflict between the men within his platoon. Written by Jeremy Thomson

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

vietnam war | vietnam | 1960s | gore | afi | See All (101) »

Taglines:

The first casualty of war is innocence.

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM [United States]

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Vietnamese

Release Date:

6 February 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Platoon See more »

Filming Locations:

Luzon, Philippines See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$241,080, 21 December 1986, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$138,530,565
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hemdale,Cinema 86 See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the end of the scene where Willem Dafoe and John C. McGinley are arguing about whose team should have to pull perimeter watch, John C. McGinley's character says, "Guy's in three years and he thinks he's Jesus F'n Christ or something." Dafoe went on to play Jesus in The Last Temptation of Christ (1988). See more »

Goofs

Staff Sergeant Barnes and Sergeant Elias both carry Cold Steel brand knives, which were not manufactured until the 1980s. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Pvt. Gardner: [seeing body bags] Oh, man. Is that what I think it is?
Sergeant: All right, you cheese-dicks, welcome to the Nam. Follow me!
See more »

Alternate Versions

TV version has much of its dialogue redubbed and shots refilmed, replacing such lines as "He thinks he's Jesus F---in' Christ!" with "He thinks he's George Freakin' Washington!" See more »

Connections

Featured in Nostalgia Critic: Ferngully 2 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

WHITE RABBIT
Composed by Grace Slick
Performed by Jefferson Airplane
Published by Irving Music
Courtesy of RCA Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Uncomfortable but very worthy view of war's impact on the young
3 July 2002 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

At the height of the Vietnam War, America's teens are drafted into the war effort to find themselves in the middle of hell. One such young man is Chris Taylor. He is placed in a squadron where two sergeants have different approaches to the war – Elias is more about surviving without being brutal or cruel, whereas Barnes is crueller, more ruthless and more violent. During the course of his term, Taylor's very soul is torn between the two men as he deals with what he must do.

The first film in Oliver Stone's unofficial trilogy is arguably the best of the three. The basic story not only shows us what the war was like for those serving but also how the different personalities come out of those involved in it. As we follow Taylor we see him change as he is influenced by those around him and by his situation. It makes for an uncomfortable film but one that's worth watching. It's certainly a better war movie than things like Wild Geese or The Dirty Dozen, simply because it's a little more real to what happens than those ones.

Charlie Sheen has never been better than when he's acting for Stone. Here he gives one of his best ever performances as the innocent who is changed. Willem Dafoe is a great actor and here is no different – he also gives us one of the film's most enduring images so I'm a little biased. Berenger is another one for whom it's hard to think of a higher point reached than when he did this film. He is brutal and ruthless but he makes us support him in a strange way. The support cast are all good and contains a few famous faces (John C McGinley, Whitaker, Depp) however this is really a three man show.

Overall this is brutal and violent with no happy ending. At the end of the day isn't that what a war film should be?


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